Best Blog Award

Logo of the best blog awardWe received a “Best-Blockstöckchen” with a list of questions from Christopher and Johannes, co-authors of “Koschere Melange”, one of our very fave blogs. We = the two Mirjams (on which matter see “Names have meaning“) who have edited the blog since its inception were highly delighted but unfortunately, what with summer vacations and all, it took us somewhat longer than usual to compile our answers. Now, here they are:

1. Who blogs? And why?

Here, our colleagues at the Jewish Museum Berlin blog about topics dear to their hearts, about questions that crop up for them or others and about stuff that might otherwise be overlooked.
We blog, because we are repeatedly confronted, in our daily work, with questions, discoveries, or thoughts that we like to share.

2. What makes a (very) good blog (very) good?

We enjoy trenchant and informative blog posts written in an engaging, witty style and which say something about the person who wrote them. We also appreciate blog posts that pursue a particular objective, which may be of current interest but not necessarily.

3. How long on average (!) do you work on a blog post?

A table with an PC screen, some books, a cup of coffee and headphones

Workplace at our online editorial team © Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Mirjam Wenzel

Texts about topical matters (introductions to videos, obituaries, or observations on the minutiae of everyday Museum life) are penned in-between times, which is to say, between meetings, answering the phone or replying to emails. For longer articles (over 3,000 characters) we need a little more peace and quiet for around two hours or so. Then there’s the proofreading, copyright issues to clarify and translations to organize. All in all, it generally takes longer than we initially imagined.

4. How important are readers’ comments to you—and do you reckon with a response to everything you post?

We appreciate every comment that refers to an article, but certainly don’t expect a response to most of what we post. As Mirjam explained a few months back, we receive a lot of praise indeed but it’s usually accompanied by a request to publish some URL or other—and so it’s now spammed automatically.

5. Do you have a favorite blog piece? And, if so, why?

We’re really pleased that so many of our colleagues have taken up blogging and we think their broad-ranging contributions give a good insight into the diverse issues and ideas that shape everyday affairs at the Jewish Museum Berlin. We both studied literature so we’ve a soft spot particularly for literary reviews and the discussions prompted by our series “Young Jewish Writers.” Among our readers, the “Questions of the Month” that accompanied the exhibition “The Whole Truth,” proved especially popular and so too Leonore Maier’s blog post “Soccer and the First World War,” written in connection with our current special exhibition, and Ariane Kwasigroch’s report on “Saving a Cat.”

6. Do you have a blog roll too? Why (not)?

We’re on a roll, so to speak, with other museum blogs, because we believe it’s important to network in our field.

7. Is there a blog that particularly inspires you or that you see as a role model?

Lots of people are standing outside in the sun, performing the digit ten

Gathering of Collegues at the 10th anniversary of the museum © Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe

Not really; but when we launched this blog around two years ago we had some pretty intense discussions about what appealed to us in other museum blogs. We especially enjoy reading posts on Koschere Melange and those from the Contemporary Jewish Museum San Francisco. Of interest too are the blogs of the Historisches Museum Frankfurt and the Museum Neukölln in Berlin. We also warmly recommend Jasper Visser’s “the museum of the future” and Jenny Fuchs “museum diary.”

8. Which celebrity author would you invite to write for your blog, if you could choose?

Nicole Krauss, because we just love her books and short stories.

9. How important is the blog design, in your opinion, and by which criteria did you decide on its present look?  

We recently commissioned a complete overhaul of the blog design: everything from the typography and navigation elements to the text structure and logo. Design plays a major role for us in all our publications. And the typography was a particular focus in the case of the blog.

10. Are you personally acquainted with any (or many) of those who comment on your blog posts?

Unfortunately, not. So far, we’ve only rarely received comments from readers we know. Sometimes the most unexpected questions reach us through our comments and blog post channel—recently, for example, the Al Jazeera TV show “The Stream” asked whether we’d be interested in taking part in a program about a proposed new edition of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.” We politely declined and passed the request on to institutions and persons much better equipped to debating the issue—but of course we watched the result with great interest:

11.Will your blog still be around in the year 2025? If so, in what form? And if not, why not?

This blog and the blog format itself will probably no longer exist in eleven years’ time, because the social web will have long since morphed and new communication channels will have opened up.

As “Best-Blogstöcken” fans, we roam far and wide—and here are the bloggers we’d like to link you up with:

  1. Juliane Grossmann, our former colleague at the JMB, who now writes the broad-ranging blog “irgendwie jüdisch” about her everyday life and insights.
  2. the Jewish Museum Munich, which was the first Jewish Museum in Germany to launch a blog and continues to offer wonderful peeks into its exhibitions and events.
  3. the blog of Museum Neukölln, which persuasively convey the scope and interest of the Museum’s new discoveries and programs.
  4. Nina Gorgus, whose “Feststellungen über Ausstellungen” we enjoy reading.
  5. Michal Fuchs and her lovely illustrated blog “fuchsalach“.

And these are the questions we’d like to put to you:

  1. Why do you blog?
  2. Did something in particular lead you to launch your blog? Or is there a story you particularly associate with it?
  3. Do you have someone else read your texts before you post them online?
  4. What kind of interplay is there between your blog and your activities in social networks?
  5. Do you have a regular circle of readers? If so, do you know them personally?
  6. Is there a theme or objective particularly dear to your hearts and that you explicitly pursue in your blog?
  7. Where do your write your texts—in the office, at home, on the sofa, in a café…?
  8. How, if at all, do you network with other bloggers?
  9. What is the most exciting phenomenon or event you associate with your blog?
  10. What was your medium of choice in the pre-blog era—private conversations, your diary, letters to the editor, protest marches or writing articles for print media?
  11. Do you think your blog will still exist in five years’ time? And, if it doesn’t, what else might then take up your time instead?

We look forward to reading your answers!

Mirjam Wenzel and Mirjam Bitter, Media


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